If senior management was subject to surprise inspections while planning for major projects, behind closed doors you would find them vetting through a short list of select team players, asking one question of their trusted wingmen on the ground: is this guy or gal a worker bee or leader? Leaders do everything it takes to navigate the company in order to achieve each project milestone. They can effectively matrix manage people not necessarily their direct reports and consistently communicate the business needs up-front giving the team direction. A worker bee steps up when duty calls, hits the ground running to execute. They know their jobs so well, they are considered the subject matter experts in their functional area. They can perform the step-by-step of their role in their sleep, be exceptional team players and are fulfilled by being relied upon to “get the job” done.
While there’s nothing wrong with being the trusted go-to player, as a career coach, what I often hear of around this career stage, is that the thrill of just producing can eventually peter out, eventually causing them to feel black boxed into just one category. They simply become bored. What’s next then? You can step up and morph into a gutsy thought leader. They no longer wish to be the one who just executes but the person who gets paid more for their opinions based on all of their experience from being a worker bee for so long.
Consistently Push back
Remove the need to please and be-liked gene. While as a worker bee, you loved producing results churning out your best product whenever called upon, as a gutsy thought leader you set boundaries and ask questions around the business needs before executing. You don’t sit in every meeting and protect your time fiercely declining drop-in visitors who ask for five minutes of your time at every turn. Instead of pushing other people’s agendas, you stop time leaks and push your own agenda to reinvent yourself with a leadership mindset.
Bundle your expertise into a package
Take your years of experience and lessons learned and package your expertise as a product when sitting in meetings. You pitch your ideas based on the pitfalls you learned the hard way and become the credible resource raising the red flags during the project because you know exactly how things should be run, the right way. You go from being 1-2-3 task-oriented to looking at your job from a higher level lens, wired to see the full picture versus just your previous corner of the world. A gutsy thought leader drops a bomb in a meeting challenging the status quo when needed and is recognized for their creative approach to solutions.
Manage and Mentor someone
Flex your leadership muscle and find someone who is anxious and willing to take on more to grow in their career, whom you can easily mentor and train. This can be a consultant, an intern, a recent college grad who needs someone to take them under their wing. This not only establishes your leadership chops but also gives you more credibility when larger projects open up and management is hunting for someone who has the entire package: delivering service with value. You have the expertise, understand the business but can also manage and motivate people well.
Struggling with your CONFIDENCE levels? Want to MAXIMIZE your POTENTIAL, PROJECT your CREDIBILITY and ELIMINATE ANXIETY in any work situation?
In our Gutsy Leadership Programs, learn how to have a Rock-Solid Confidence in all your Communication. Self-Promote as a Professional Expert. Implement Fierce Time Management. Eliminate Anxiety and Shift your Mindset and Inner Beliefs about your Self-Worth.
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